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Institutions of the Westminster Crown(s)

Australian Flag
Commonwealth of Australia             
Canadian Flag
Dominion of Canada
Union Flag
United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland
New Zealand Flag
Dominion of New Zealand

The Australian Parliament's webpage for the Governor-General of Australia.

The role of the Governor-General explained.

Canadian Government website of the Governor-General of Canada .

On the role of the Governor-General of Canada.

Buckingham Palace's Web site.


Web site of the Governor-General of New Zealand.

Web pages pertaining to Australian State Governors: Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. Most of these have discussions of the role of the State Governor.

(There does not appear to be a site for NSW.)

Web sites for Canadian Provincial Lieutenant-Governors: British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario,
Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and Prince Edward Island.

Barbados Flag

Bahamas Flag
Commonwealth of the Bahamas
More Commonwealth links to follow (please contact the author if you have suggestions).


Web page of the Governor-General of Barbados.

Web page of the Governor-General of the Bahamas. Profile on the Governor-General of Jamaica.

Community groups pertaining to the Westminster Crown(s)


Australians for Constitutional Monarchy

Australian Monarchist League

Opinion pieces:

A 2009 article I wrote for the ABC's "The Drum".

A 1999 essay written by Barbara Greenwood, an ACM delegate for the Constitutional Convention.

Australian Republic Unplugged.


Monarchist League of Canada

Canadian Monarchist Online

United Kingdom

International Monarchist League/The Constitutional Monarchy Association

New Zealand












  More links to follow (please contact the author if you have suggestions).

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Author's Notes:

These links are included because of thematic relevance to the republican debate globally. The inclusion of sites does not necessarily imply endorsement of the views contained therein, which are the sole responsibility of the organisations running those sites.

NOTE: the formal title "Dominion", preserved in the names of the countries of Canada and New Zealand, does not refer to any supposed British dominance. Although it dates back to the foundation of those countries within the British Empire, the title is in fact of Canadian origin.

At the time of Confederation in 1867, the founders of modern Canada wanted to include in the formal title of their new country "a tribute to the monarchical principle, which they earnestly desire to uphold". Consequently they wanted to christen their country the "Kingdom of Canada". This was also expected to antagonise the Americans.

Not wanting to worsen diplomatic relations with the United States, the Imperial government in London asked the Canadians to choose a different form of words. They responded to London with "Dominion of Canada", a clever pun on Psalm 72 as both a description of Canada and kingdom: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth". This was accepted.

Once established, the Dominion of Canada became the archetype for independent communities within the Empire, eventually fully-independent countries as the Empire changed into a Commonwealth. "Dominion" became the shorthand description for such countries, and remains in the formal titles of both Canada and New Zealand.

It does not imply, nor ever has been intended to imply,  hegemony from London. Indeed the Crown with respect to the Dominions rapidly and logically evolved into the modern system of independent Crowns for each country: the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Crowns (for example) are independent at law from their British counterpart, although linked by the same monarch, currently Elizabeth II.

Some countries emerging from the British Empire, such as Australia and the Bahamas, preferred the ancient English political title of "Commonwealth". Made famous by Thomas Hobbes' political treatise Leviathan and the 17th Century English republic ("The Commonwealth of England"), this word refers to the idea of citizens forming a community, each surrendering some of his or her personal sovereignty to create a government with sovereignty over them all. (These different concepts of sovereignty are not incompatible: the modern Westminster Crown has been explicitly constructed by splicing Tory and republican concepts since the 17th Century, to answer weaknesses identified during and after the republican period, as well as those of the Stuart autocracies.)

Because of lack of understanding of the history of the term "Dominion", the preferred generic description of such countries is now "Her Majesty's realms". 
Under the Statute of Westminster (1931) and related international conventions, the Parliament of each independent country under Elizabeth II stands co-equal, and the consent of each is required to modify relevant international legislation pertaining to the laws of succession of the shared monarch. The Queen's constitutional duties with respect to her other countries, states and provinces outside the UK are generally performed by her relevant governors-general, governors and lieutenant-governors, who are by convention often eminent members of the local community, commonly appointed by the Queen on the advice of that state's prime minister or premier (but sometimes elected).

In a nutshell, the Queen's job, and that of her representatives, is to be the ultimate executive guardian of parliamentary democracy, under conditions where other safeguards fail.

Consequently it's important that they not be politically biased (which is why electing them is generally a bad idea).There are some conventions that attempt to avoid politicisation of appointed governors-general; there are also other, more interesting ways available for choosing a viceregal representative, to ensure this more effectively: see For the Sovereignty of the People for a discussion.

The British government has no authority to attempt to advise the Queen with respect to her other realms and territories; furthermore, her representatives' relationship with the relevant democratically elected government is generally  analogous to the Queen's with her British ministers, although with some differences: again, see my book for a lengthy discussion of the relevant legal conventions.

Consequently her other Crowns, representatives and governments operate mutually independently, uninfluenced and unaffected by the UK or its government, in some of the world's most successful parliamentary democracies.